TV & Audio

YouTube Revamps TrueView Discovery Ads

By Tinuiti Team

Advertising on YouTube is nothing new, but Google’s ownership of the video hosting platform means that it is subject to perpetual updates via AdWords. Recently, advertising options have been expanded by the development of TrueView Discovery Ads.

Previously called TrueView in-display, the upgraded format enables advertisements to appear on mobile search results pages and across other areas of the Display Network. This is the first time advertisements have been optimized for discoverability in mobile search engine results pages, though Discovery Ads will also show on desktop SERPs.

There Are Three Main Areas These Ads Will Appear:

On the YouTube Homepage:

TureView discovery ads homepage

At the top of the search results page:

TrueView Discovery ads search results page

As a “related video” under the video watch page:

TrueView discpvery ads watch page


TrueView Discovery Ad Format

TrueView discovery ads consist of a static thumbnail image, taken directly from a screenshot of your video, as well as a text description.

The amount of text displayed will vary depending on where the ad appears, but every ad will give the target audience the opportunity to click and watch the linked video.

At the very least a title will be shown, while more robust formats will feature some of the other ad extension offers in AdWords.

The advertisement is linked to a video which must be hosted on the YouTube site, as TrueView discovery ads are exclusively for video content.

Following the traditional PPC format, you will only be charged when someone chooses to interact with your content–that is when someone clicks on the thumbnail preview and chooses to watch your advertised video.

This bidding style is intended to create more relevant interaction, as anyone viewing your ad must have expressed enough interest in your offering to click it.

Most people are traditionally familiar with TrueView in-stream ads, which are the advertisements that show (often for 30 seconds) before a video fully loads.

TrueView discovery ads allow ads to show in a more natural setting, as a result of a user’s search query.

How Can TrueView Discovery Ads Fit into Your Ad Campaigns?

The most appealing aspect of these upgraded ads is that they take advantage of the naturally occurring discovery process that happens millions of times per day.

Since the placement of discovery ads is dependent on the keywords of a user’s search query, it is easier to target your ads to more relevant users.

Preliminary experiments by Google show an average 11% increase in click through rate using the revamped format of discovery ads compared to the preceding in-display format.

This is attributed to the “changes in search ad relevance” the company applied to its new format. Even more promising, Google is reporting that discovery ads drive nearly five times more clicks on CTA’s than in-stream advertisements.

It is important to note that the clicks generated from these ads are not the same as those generated by text or shopping ads.josh

“Clicks to watch a sponsored video are not the same as clicks to view a webpage. This constitutes a different kind of conversion and therefore makes the ad format far more branding-focused” said Josh Brisco, Manager, Retail Search Operations at CPC Strategy.

Success of these campaigns will be best measured by softer metrics like channel subscriptions and click-through-rate, rather than last-click conversions due to the branding-focused nature of discovery ad format.

“This format will be helpful with building video remarketing lists, as well as for targeting related videos and/or video channels in a branding/prospecting-focused campaign” Brisco adds.

TrueView discovery ads will best be utilized as a branding tool for companies both with existing video format and for those looking to expand their video presence. Because discovery ads can appear in SERPs, the new style will add increased emphasis on prior target interest.

This means that audiences viewing your ad must have already expressed some interest in ideas related to your product and/or service offering, and been interested enough to click on your advertisement. Google’s play here is that video targeting will be more relevant and therefore efficient for AdWords advertisers.

Design a TrueView Discovery Ads Campaign

The following GIFs will walk you through the basics of designing a TrueView discovery ads video campaign on AdWords.

On Page 1

  1. Under the Campaigns tab, select “+Campaign” and then choose “Video
  2. Name your campaign
  3. Select type (video will be preselected)
  4. Set your daily budget
  5. Under Networks, deselect YouTube Videos
    • Ads shown on YouTube videos are “in-stream ads,” and will show prior to a video loading. TrueView discovery ads must be targeted via the “YouTube Search Network”
  6. Choose any location preferences (“All countries and territories” is default)
  7. Adjust your language as needed (English will be default if your language settings are set to English)
  8. Set mobile bid adjustment if desired
  9. Click “Save and Continue”


On Page 2 – Designing Your Ad

  1. Name the ad group the advertisement will be targeting (you can refine your targets later in the ad creation process)
  2. Enter the URL of the YouTube video you will be featuring in your ad. You can copy&paste the URL, manually type it, or click the “YouTube” option and link it through your YouTube account.
  3. Choose “Video discovery ad” as your video ad format
  4. Choose from the options given which image (taken directly from your video) will be used as the thumbnail image in your ad
  5. Enter the text shown for your ad
    • The “Headline” will always show along with the thumbnail, regardless of where the ad appears
    • Description 1” and “Description 2” are opportunities for providing additional context. Like ad extensions, they are not guaranteed to appear, but it is Best Practice to fill them out, as you will likely not know when they will or will not appear.
  6.  Choose what will be used as the landing page for your ad
    • My Channel Page” will direct users to the YouTube channel page associated with your AdWords account
    • The “Video’s watch page” will link it to the watch page for the URL entered in Step 3 above
  7.  Select the ad name for this ad. Multiple ads can run in each ad group, as multiple ad groups can run in each campaign.


On Page 2 – Bidding and Targeting

  1. Set a Maximum CPV (cost per view). This is the highest amount your willing to pay each time a user clicks on your thumbnail to watch your video.
    • A helpful box on the right hand side will predict daily and weekly spend based on your set budget and max CPV, as well as estimate how many views you will get based on the average CPV
  2. Set “Popular videos bid adjustment” if desired. Ranging from +0% to +500%, these adjustments apply when your ad is eligible to be served on YouTube’s popular content. It can increase your chances of being shown alongside such content.
  3. Adjust your targeting. TrueView discovery ads allow you to target based on audience demographics and interests.
    • Demographics: choose from gender, age, and parental status
    • Interests: choose from a variety of interest categories Google defines based on search history and other data
  4. Save your ad group


Additional Resources

YouTube Advertising for Retailers

What is YouTube’s TrueView Companion Banner?

YouTube Shopping Ads Now Available to All Advertisers


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